Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Hindgut: Understanding Its Role in Equine Digestive Health - Full Article

By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · March 27, 2014

Horses rely on fermentation for optimal digestion of feedstuffs and energy production. Hindgut digestion, which occurs in the cecum and large colon, progresses most efficiently when horses are allowed continual access to forage and limited access to feedstuffs that could upset the pH of the cecum, including large grain meals.

Fermentation is achieved through the machinations of billions of protozoa, fungi, and bacteria. Together, these microbes convert carbohydrate-based contents, essentially plant-based fiber, into volatile fatty acids (VFA), which provide energy to the horse. If soluble carbohydrates, such as those found in large supply in grain meals, find their way into the hindgut, some lactate might be produced...

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